Life happens. I’m not the first author to write those words, and I won’t be the last. Our goal should be just to roll with the punches of life as well as we can.
In the back of my head, I keep remembering one of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Never burn a bridge if you can help it.”
Even if you’re never going to be friends with someone, there’s no reason to be mean. Do your best to be civil when you have to interact, and if necessary, avoid the person as much as possible. However, you never know when you might run into him or her in the future, so it almost always pays to be nice.
If you have a teacher who doesn’t like you, hang in there. You’ll have another teacher soon enough, and that next one will probably like you just fine.
Let me offer just one quick word of advice, from someone who successfully navigated high school without too many scars and is now attending college: Don’t let dating become a priority. Sophomore year can be so much fun. Don’t add drama where it’s not necessary.
As you get older and start to meet people whom you just seem to “click” with, it’s normal to lose touch with your old middle school friends. During our freshman year, my middle school friends and I banded together to survive the newness of high school. In our sophomore year, however, after realizing we had actually made it through a year of high school, some of us branched out to try new things and make new friends. In time, it was natural that a number of early friendships were set aside to make room for new ones based on more current interests and high school activities.
It may feel like you’re doing something wrong when you start to lose touch with old friends, but the reality is that life changes, and that’s okay. Sophomore year is a great time to make new friends who might be around for years to come. It’s also a time to become even closer to longtime friends who share your interests. Once you’ve decided whom to hold onto and whom to let go, your remaining friendships will become even more meaningful.
My freshman year came with its own share of challenges. Sometimes, it was lonely. After the first few weeks of school, I had made at least one friend in each of my classes. When one of them was absent, though, I was back to being the kid nobody knew.
My friends from middle school probably wouldn’t have recognized me. I’d gone from outgoing, energetic, and popular (everyone was popular in our small class) to lost and often alone. I didn’t have close friends to share girl-talk with at sleepovers or to walk with me around the track during P.E. There were days throughout my freshman year when I felt isolated, when I couldn’t understand my classmates’ inside jokes, and when I felt totally out of place as the new kid. I knew, however, that I could eventually figure this out.
One thing I loved was the idea that during my freshman year I could totally re-create who I was. Without close friends in any of my classes, every minute was a chance to remake myself into who I wanted to be. I’ve since come to realize that it’s possible to re-create yourself at any time, not just when entering a new school. It’s something I wish I had learned earlier, but thankfully I was able to embrace the idea as I entered this new adventure called high school.
I remember the first day of high school like it was yesterday. It was nearly impossible to fall asleep the night before. I had spent hours picking out the perfect outfit for my first day. I woke up early to make sure I had plenty of time to shower and do my hair and make-up. I desperately wanted to fit in with the hundreds of new faces I would encounter as I walked into Bearden High School for the first time.
A few hours later, I watched the tan, confident senior girls stroll into the building. They seemed so much older than I was. They hugged each other and smiled as if they hadn’t seen each other in years. As I saw the way they dressed and related to each other, I was overwhelmed with the reminder that I was an awkward kid transferring from a tiny middle school to a huge high school.
In my blue t-shirt and jeans, I began to feel like I was dressed for a Blue Man Group audition instead of Day One of high school. At first, I wanted to run back to my mom’s car and rush home for a change of clothes, but the line of cars at the drop-off wouldn’t have allowed me to make it back in time, even if I had seriously considered such a mad dash.
My only options seemed to be:
A. Hang my head and sneak into the school unnoticed.
B. Do my best to look like I fit in.
I flipped a coin in my brain, then pulled my shoulders back and pretended to be confident as I walked through those front doors.